Qui Vive

Already, this year has been exceptionally trying, but I have chosen to serve and to give out what I need most – an encouraging word. My hope for you all today is that you do not become weary from expecting the good. I am so ready for the harvest that comes after the waiting…

Qui Vive by Ama Danesi

In whatever state we find ourselves

God is working out the opposite.

When we fall, He lifts us up.

When we are bound, He frees our souls.

In the face of certain defeat, He is working

out a victory that cannot be denied.

In our darkest nights and earnest watching – qui vive.

His love roars loud and clear above the taunting waves.

He calms our heartbeat to the rhythm of His breath.

He sent us a helpless baby as Savior of the world.

Once an alien in Egypt but rich in gold, silver, and myrrh.

The pain and suffering that He allows, ushers in

destiny and purpose. He plants in untilled soil, that the

harvest may be wild and unrestrained reaching to

the ends of the earth and places marked “x.”

In the face of sorrow, our hope & joy is His name –

Emmanuel, God with us.

 

Alert & hopeful,

AD.

Historical Fun Fact:

Even motor boats have a purpose and are remembered for their service. The USS Qui Vive (SP – 1004) was part of the United States Naval Fighting fleet from 1917 – 1919. She served as a patrol vessel then as a hospital boat in the 5th Naval District during World War 1. Originally built by the Hutchinson Brothers (Alexandria, NY) for Houston Barnard (Rochester, NY) she was chartered by the Navy until she was decommissioned and returned at the end of her naval career. Her current state is unknown but her work and service endure.
(Bio and image credit: NavSource.org /Wikipedia/Pixabay)

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In Search for Passion and Meaning

Action Lady! Credit: Pixabay

Lady Action.  Images Credit: Pixabay

When did pelvic thrusts become the measure of excitement and passion? Emoji’s are facing stiff (puny, I know) competition from our need to express our approval with virtual grunts.

For most of us who work, our weekend schedule can reveal the road map to our passion – a football game, a writing workshop, a crafts hang-out, hanging out with the kids, volunteering at the food bank…you name it.  Spending our free time mindfully ignites a creative spark. If you do it once and feel the buzz, you’ll do it again.

I’m one of those with short bursts of artistic passion because come Monday, the mechanics and daily grind of life takes over, so I’m in awe of professional artists, creative geniuses and single parents. How do they do it? How do they sustain their imagination, excitement, energy and enthusiasm? Because they are eternally curious and never stop learning.

I want to be curious again, to look forward to something other than bills in my mailbox. I am working on being more consistent. Everyday, we have to give ourselves permission to be more spontaneous, follow the intuitions and hunches, break the habits that drag us away from our extraordinary core.

Image credit: Pixabay

The key is doing it daily, create new challenges and as Brené Brown advises, in her book Daring Greatly, quoting Theodore Roosevelt’s, Man in the Arena speech – “Don’t be the critic… be the one whose strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again…there is no effort without error and shortcoming (for) the one who spends himself in a worthy cause.”

We cultivate passion and meaning by scheduling time to be creative, showing up daily at the roll call. Success may result in fist pumps, pelvic thrusts or whatever rocks your halo, but even more important, is rising up after a failure, choosing to not retreat but live wholeheartedly.

I’ve done some passion-seeking work from the list below. You are welcome to share your ideas.

  • Take that course you’ve put off in art, music, writing, cooking, pottery, poetry, dancing etc. ( I’m taking one – Poetry in America : 1700-1850 )
  • Keep a journal – the wise number their days.
  • Ask your parents about an old photo, a family secret, the family history.
  • Introduce yourself to your community. Visit that trail, fishing camp, Japanese garden etc.
  • Run with an idea and ask for help.
  • Rediscover the wonder of your local library.
  • Sleep in with your kids on the weekend.
  • Apologize sincerely to someone you’ve hurt. ( I’m still working on this.)
  • Explore what your soul really needs.

There’s so much more, but here’s a good start in our search for passion and meaning. We are either dying slowly or living brilliantly. Chose life.

The Making of a Craftsman or Artisan

http://pixabay.com/en/paint-art-image-artists-painting-198735/

Credit: Pixabay Images – An Artist

Whoever said creativity was easy, a buzz from the subconscious, has not been through the dark night of the soul. I have. I wept with my protagonist wondering, why…why am I doing this to myself?  So lately I’ve been spent. Drained by the sheer grit of finishing the first draft of my novel and now with trepidation, I’m commencing the rewrite process.

Erwin McManus of  MOSAIC said, “the person who steals is terrified of creating.” Now you know the reason for our overcrowded county jails. Creativity is soul-breaking hard work, demanding diligence, responsibility and a thick-skin to withstand inevitable criticism. Yes, Criticism. My retainers are proof that I can look at my reflection (cute as I am *-*) and still find fault. Nobody wears halos, visors maybe. 

Wikipedia Commons -  A Craftsman at work

Wikipedia Commons – A Craftsman at work

The craftsman shows up and plugs away, like someone possessed by the need to show themselves worthy of another sunrise. I must admit these last few weeks has been hard for me. I’m like a brow-beaten Lebron James, after losing 2014 NBA finals to the Spurs, soaking his weary muscles in a bathtub of epsom salts and reprimanding his kids, “I don’t want to hear anything about basketball.”

Here’s what I did today to avoid writing:

  1. Washed my hair and deep conditioned it twice.
  2. Created a head full of twists ( that accounted for 55 mins.)
  3. Browsed used car websites – Craigslist, CarGuru, KBB, Recycler , then Mercedes-Benz of Beverly Hills for a good deal on a Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class CLS 550 Coupe, steel-gray body and ash-black leather interior.
  4. Searched online for a white gown (Service of songs; dress code – white) and  in the process, I was sorely tempted to buy ten pounds of  Kansas City steak from QVC and from HSN, Twiggy London’ s flag-inspired tee-shirts.
  5. Served myself two large scoops of vanilla bean ice-cream.
  6. Teared up as I went through three trunks of my native African clothes, reminiscing about each occasion that called for another gele* (African headgear)
  7. Read and deleted spam comments (Yep… Akismet obviously needs help)

Then something good happened. I decided I’d better write or feel guilty when I step on my scale tomorrow on account my creamy indulgence. Motivation can come from anywhere, as far as it works. As artists when we stay away from our craft, we experience an unsettling, a foreboding that time is slipping away and with it the miracle of chances.

If we wait too long, it’s so easy to slip into a dissatisfied and depressed state. Off-track we get moody and our words become wind – destructive, unkind – blowing restless in all direction of our lives. Now I’m learning to pray – Lord, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, can you please create through me today?

 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Eph. 4:28 (NKJV)

Art is everywhere. This  video shows Segun Gele, a Nigerian *gele artist profiled on CNN, reveling in the work of his hands.
If you haven’t…you’ve got to read  The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

Fight the resistance. Be encouraged. Create something that makes you smile today 🙂